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September 21, 2014

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Nobel Prize Announcement is Reason for UT Dallas Team to Celebrate

Physics Team Helped Confirm Nobel Prize Winners' Theories, Which Further the Understanding of Mass, Matter

Atlas Experiment

The ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider captured this collision of particles, an event in which a Higgs boson may have been created.

As the winners of the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics were announced Tuesday, UT Dallas physics professor Dr. Joe Izen was at a conference in Morocco, surrounded by fellow physicists watching the announcement live via webcast.

“Our room erupted in spontaneous applause as the prize was announced,” Izen said.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the prize to theorists Peter Higgs of Britain and Francois Englert of Belgium in recognition of their work developing the theory of how particles of matter acquire mass.

Hundreds of U.S. scientists, including a team from UT Dallas led by Izen, also have reason to celebrate. These experimentalists confirmed the theorists’ ideas in July 2012 when they discovered the so-called Higgs particle, or Higgs boson, at the CERN research facility in Geneva.

Dr. Joseph Izen

Dr. Joseph Izen

CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator. Two research groups, abbreviated ATLAS and CMS and comprising thousands of international scientists, discovered the Higgs particle by smashing together beams of protons traveling at nearly the speed of light.  Izen’s team helped build the ATLAS detectors, which gathered data that led to the discovery of the Higgs particle.

Assembled with a group of ATLAS collaborators at the Morocco conference, Izen said, “Smiles broke out when we realized that the Swedish Academy had noted the ATLAS and CMS experiments' role in the discovery of the Higgs boson.”

“It’s humbling to have had a small role in the ATLAS experiment’s discovery of the Higgs particle,” Izen said. “The theory of Higgs and Englert was a big step forward in mankind's understanding of the universe, and I join all LHC experimentalists and physicists around the world in celebrating this Nobel Prize.”

In addition to Izen, UT Dallas ATLAS team members include Dr. Xinchou Lou, professor of physics, research scientist Dr. Kendall Reeves, visiting assistant professor Michael Leyton and graduate students Harisankar Namasivayam and Brandyn Lee.

Media Contact: Amanda Siegfried, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4335, amanda.siegfried@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu


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